Basics
Fiscal Hosting with OCF
Once you apply to join Open Collective Foundation and receive an approval email from us, you can immediately get started with managing your initiative on Open Collective.
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Welcome!

Open Collective

  • Open Collective Inc. is the platform that OCF operates on.
    • Open Collective has their own homepage, budget, and documentation. These docs you're currently reading are a pared down version to relay information that is specific to OCF.
  • OCF (Open Collective Foundation) is a charitable fiscal host who uses the Open Collective platform
For an overview of using the Open Collective platform, check out their documentation. It has a ton of great information about features like the transparent budget, customizing an initiative profile, tiers, goals, and other tools now at your disposal.
Their Quick Start Guide is another great place to start.
Explainer Video: What is Open Collective

Receiving Funds

Our documentation includes information for how people can contribute to your initiative: Feel free to share this Financial Contributions overview with your contributors!

Submitting Expenses

Using funds from your initiative’s budget is simple:
  1. 1.
    Someone submits an expense.
  2. 2.
    An initiative admin (someone on your team) approves it.
  3. 3.
    OCF's team reviews it (confirms that the expense meets requirements e.g. having a valid receipt).
  4. 4.
    They get paid.
Initiative admins can set an expense policy to give guidance to expense submitters.

How submitting & paying out expenses works:

Expense payments may relate to either:

  1. 1.
    an Invoice for work completed for the initiative;
    • Invoices are used to pay people for work completed or their goods/services.
    • Within the invoice option, you can either upload your own invoice, or you can create one directly on the platform. You will be able to detail what the services/goods are, and can include multiple items
    • When someone uses invoices, they are treated as an independent contractor. If earnings exceed $600 in a year, they will be automatically issued a 1099 tax form to fill out per IRS regulations. (Reimbursements do not trigger the 1099 form). More info about taxes here.
  2. 2.
    or a Reimbursement for purchases made on behalf of the initiative.
    • Reimbursements are used to pay people (often volunteers) back when they have made purchases for the group - in these cases, receipts are required so that we can ensure the requested amount matches the purchased amount in order to approve the reimbursement.
  • Individuals and organizations can request payment from an initiative by submitting an expense.
  • Initiative admins also have the option of drafting an expense and then sending an invitation to someone else to complete and submit it.
    • This is a great option for those admins who know already know exactly how much they want to pay/reimburse someone, and just want to invite them to the platform.
  • Sometimes a third type of expense, "Request a Grant" will appear on an initiative's page. This is because that initiative has submitted a grant proposal in order to be able to offer grants. More info here.

OCF uses a Double-Approval Process to pay out expenses:

  1. 1.
    Once submitted, expenses need to first be approved by initiative admins and then,
  2. 2.
    Expenses are processed and paid out by Open Collective Foundation biweekly (on Mondays and Thursdays).
OCF can pay out funds via PayPal and electronic bank transfer via Transferwise.
Make sure to review the Expenses and Getting Paid section of Open Collective’s documentation for a full overview of the process.
If your initiative would like to pay out funds to individuals who do not have bank account access/PayPal, please review our Cash Assistance Policy.
Also check our Third-Party Fundraising Tools and our Outside Accounts Policy pages for info about how OCF works with other giving platforms (e.g. Venmo, CashApp, GoFundMe)

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Last modified 10h ago